Tony winner Robert Lopez recently reunited with his Book of Mormon co-composers Trey Parker and Matt Stone to write a Broadway-themed episode of their long-running animated series South Park. After a busy week in Los Angeles, Lopez phoned Broadway.com just before boarding his flight back to New York to chat about crafting the episode, Broadway Bro Down, which airs October 26 on Comedy Central.
“It was an absolute blast,” Lopez said of the experience. “I’ve been hearing about the process of South Park for seven years, so it felt really familiar as I was going through it all.” The episode will follow Randy Marsh as he discovers his new love of Broadway musicals. Despite Lopez’s Broadway pedigree he says the team didn’t necessarily plan on focusing the episode on the Great White Way. “There was no set idea about anything when we started out. We talked about maybe doing a Halloween episode, but this was sort of the one that stuck at the end of the day. I’m glad it did, because I really wanted to write songs.”
Lopez revealed that as of Monday night the episode only featured two songs, but two more tunes were added at the last minute, including a montage in which Randy visits Broadway hits like Wicked, Sister Act and The Phantom of the Opera. Should any of these musicals be nervous about getting targeted by Parker and Stone’s signature raunchy wit? “I don’t think so,” Lopez said. “It’s a little bit of a silly satirical version of these shows, and Wicked is Trey’s favorite show hands down. He always seems to be telling me to write something that sounds like Wicked.”
Writing wasn’t the only skill Lopez put to use during his week at South Park: He also contributed several voices to the episode and played guitar on the songs. “That was kind of a bucket list dream,” Lopez said of his vocal work. “I do a lot of demos for my own work, but nobody ever really gets to hear me perform.”
While Lopez remained mum about exact plot twists, he did note that like many South Park episodes, Broadway Bro Down is one “where there’s an imagined conspiracy, where the whole purpose of Broadway is really a nefarious thing. I think people will dig it and get the spirit it’s meant in.”
For a sneak preview of Broadway Bro Down click below!